Last month, 512 animals were taken in to the Aiken County Animal Shelter. More than 500 strays and surrendered pets in October!
It never happens this time of year. We can’t explain it. To tell you the truth, it blows our minds and keeps us up at night. But there it is: after a summer of unexpectedly horrible intake numbers (like that day at the end of July when 44 animals were surrendered in four hours!), fall is shaping up to be just as bad.
Most of these animals did nothing wrong. They were victims of owners who brought them into this world and then washed their hands of them, leaving the rest of us to pay for their neglect.
There is only one way to reduce the shockingly high number of homeless and abandoned animals: every pet in Aiken County must be spayed or neutered. It’s good for the animals and good for the community. Here’s why.
Your pet will live longer. Spayed and neutered animals have significantly less health problems than their unfixed counterparts. By the way, it is not true that pets get fat and lazy as a result of spaying and neutering—only a bad diet and lack of exercise will do that.
Spayed and neutered animals are less likely to roam. That means they are less likely to catch diseases from other animals, get lost, fight with other dogs, or get hit by a car (85% of dogs hit by cars are unaltered).
Spaying your female before she is 6 months old means you can avoid the messy, noisy heat cycles that typically occur twice a year. It also means you can avoid the messy, noisy, smelly crowd of male dogs or cats hanging out in your yard while your pet is in heat.
Neutering your dog decreases potentially aggressive behavior to other animals and people. Particularly children, who are by far the most frequent victims of dog bites.
Your cat or dog will be a better pet. Fixing your pet eliminates unpleasant spraying and marking in your yard, on your rug, on your furniture.
Fixing your dog will not make him less protective. Dogs are naturally protective by nature, particularly if you love and feed them.
Fixing your pet is cheaper for the community as a whole. Public shelters are funded by taxpayer dollars. If everyone fixes their pets, the number of homeless and abandoned animals at the shelter will be dramatically reduced, as will the amount of public funds needed to care for those animals.
Moreover, the cost to spay or neuter your pet has never been more affordable. Aiken County has a voucher program, supplemented by FOTAS, to provide low-cost spay/neuter services to residents who need financial assistance. The vouchers are distributed at the County Shelter at 333 Wire Road.
Make arrangements to spay or neuter your animal today. Convince your neighbors, friends and family to spay and neuter their pets, too.
There are so many loving, deserving animals in the Shelter that need a home. Why bring even more animals into the world to be dumped in the shelter, or worse, on the side of the road?
Their lives are in our hands.
— by Joanna D. Samson, Vice-President, FOTAS